We are very happy to be able to present the programme for our twenty-fourth jazz festival. There were times just before the 2012 Festival when it looked as if that might be our last, but we survived, the music was brilliant and the fans had a great time. It’s our regular mixture of old friends and new faces, with nearly 50 sessions featuring bands from across most of the spectrum of the music we call jazz.
Peter Vacher described Swanage as the “perfect place for a summer weekend of jazz” (Jazz Journal). We know most of our fans agree: a great many return every year and we still meet some who were here for the first small-scale affair in 1990. If you’ve never been to the Festival, we think you’ll find the combination of top class jazz, effective but relaxed organization and a beautiful seaside setting irresistible. You might stay on to explore the stunning coastal scenery and picturesque villages, as an increasing number of people do.
There are four stroller venues close to the seafront in the centre of town, and several free venues, so you can stroll from the large marquees to the smaller venues and take in everything from New Orleans revivalism and Dixieland to post-bop and contemporary sounds, by way of swing and mainstream.
The Festival is promoted by a group of fans and is non-profit making. We have some small amounts of sponsorship –Enterprise Inns and some local small businesses. But we have grown and survived largely because of the support of fans: ticket sales cover nearly 90 per cent of our costs, of which musicians’ fees and expenses make up 70 per cent.
The stroller ticket covers everything except the boat trip and the steam train jazz dance. The music runs from 7 to 11pm on Friday, 11am to 11pm on Saturday and 10am to 11pm on Sunday. There’s a brass band parade on Saturday morning, a church service on Sunday, free gigs in pubs and open-air gigs on Saturday and Sunday.
Tickets are on sale from the beginning of February. We do urge you to book your tickets and accommodation as early as you can. Like many seaside towns, in the recent past Swanage has seen many hotels and guesthouse redeveloped to provide retirement and second homes. For information and accommodation lists see the tickets page. Given the demand for places in town, it helps if you book for at least three days.
All of our venues are accessible to wheelchairs. We are very definitely a child-friendly event – we admit children under sixteen free with an adult, and we offer a discount of 50% for student bookings. We are also happy to admit dogs, provided they are under close control.
The Jazz Cruise
We are sorry to have to announce that there will not be jazz cruise this year, after 21 years. The firm we have dealt with for some years has had difficulties – the sale of one of their boats two years ago led us to run the first steam train-jazz dance last year. This year we have been unable to get a response from them to guarantee a boat will be available, and extensive enquiries make it clear there is no suitable alternative. We will look at the situation later in the year and will advertise if we can make a booking.
Steam Train/Jazz Dance (Friday 12th July 2pm)
For a second year we are running a steam train trip from Swanage to Harman’s Cross station (on the picturesque Purbeck Line) with a jazz dance in the village hall (to be notified later). The train leaves Swanage station at 2pm and returns at 4.30pm. Tickets are £15.00.